Package or flight and hotel separately?
The overview by ECC Austria helps you find out wether the package tour or the individual trip fits your needs.
Booking a package travel means buying the flight and the accommodation as a package for one total price from the tour operator. The vacationer therefore has only one contractual partner to turn to if problems occur.
Simply put: The tour operator is the one who made the travel brochure. German speaking consumers usually book their trips at the main tour operators from Austria or Germany.
Only flight or hotel
If you book the flight directly at the airline and the accommodation directly at the hotel at your destination, you have two separate contracts with two different contractual partners. If problems occur regarding the flight you have to contact the airline. If the accommodation does not meet your expectations or your booking confirmation, you have to contact the hotelier.
The contractual partners are often not situated in German speaking countries, occassionally even outside Europe.
The travel agency
The travel agency, regardless of wether it is online or around the corner, is always just the intermediary. It might be an intermediary for a package trip, the booking of a flight or a hotel room.
As mentioned above, your contractual partner regarding the package trip is the tour operator.
Regarding a hotel booking via an online portal this means: Not the online portal is your contact point for problems or deficiencies, but the respective hotel that was booked for your accommodation. Contractual partner and therefore responsible for the proper fulfilment of services is the booked hotel. If it is situated in a non-German-speaking area or even outside the EU, complaints can become very complicated and time consuming.
Tip: Serious online travel agencies state their intermediary role on their start page or on top of their General Terms and Conditions and announce the complete contact details of the respective contractual partner (tour operator, airline, hotel) during the booking.
Package Travel Directive – more protection
Due to the Package Travel Directive of the EU, tourists who booked a package travel are better protected by law than individual travellers. On the one hand, tour operators are obliged to have an insolvency hedging. On the other hand there are special provisions regarding question like which legal system is applicable and where court proceedings take place.
If you booked a package travel operated by a company situated in the EU, the binding conditions prescribed by Austrian law apply and a court proceeding against the foreign tour operator would take place in Austria.
However, if you book just a flight or a hotel, these special consumer protection rules do not apply.